Songwriting Help??

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Bassdude15, Mar 5, 2014.


  1. Bassdude15

    Bassdude15

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    Its not really a song but more a musical concept Ive been bouncing around in my head:
    Its semi-electric folk (bass guitar,acoustic guitar,percussion, harmonium, maybe clean electric rhythm guitar), 7/4 time, and the chords are Dmajor,Cminor,Gm9, and Bb-7sus4. The tempo is slow, about 68 beats per minute. Any suggestions as far as crafting some sort of melodic bass part to go with it??






    Thanks,
    Bassdude15
  2. Bassdude15

    Bassdude15

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    Nobody??? :/
  3. 841NER

    841NER

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    1 full bar changes? Is there already a vocal melody? I'd lean to 3rd octave referencing the Gm9 with minimal root notes, dropping to 1st octave root notes for contrasting sections. :) Hope this is useful for a start.
  4. mellowinman

    mellowinman Not a Clique Member Supporting Member

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    I've written over 300 songs, and I have no idea what you're talking about, or why you're talking about it.

    Put down the chords, listen with your ears, and play what sounds nice.

    Music is math, but math isn't music.
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  6. Milk

    Milk Supporting Member

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    Yup.


    Methinks you're overthinking it....
  7. 841NER

    841NER

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    Everyone has their own way of writing a song. He might be just starting out and some suggestions might help him to get on a roll. He might need time to build up some trust of his intuition. I've been writing for 30 years and I don't go into a new tune with structures or plans but I know some guys that do. Each to their own.
  8. chapito

    chapito Supporting Member

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    Hey bassdude15
    I feel it's a bit difficult to offer much with out knowing more about what's going on rhythmically and melodically

    Consider how much your bass line will be "up front" in the song: Will it be up front with the melody? Will it harmonize with it? Counter it?

    Since your in 7/4, you may want to consider how busy it will be.

    From your description I imagine the bass line as a melodically phrase in an ostinado figure that repeats through the changes. The Dmajor chord would be a challenge but it would be easy to work a phrase over a Gminor pentatonic.

    I'm a jazz composer so maybe my sensibilities are a bit different. But I've been working a lot of hymnal music lately. Very fertile ground for Americana and jazz.

    Side note, your progression is very nice. With a slight alteration of harmony I hear a nice Wayne shorter type tune. (Maybe in 3/4)

    Good luck with your tune. Keep at it. There's a lot of suggestions and opinions. And it can be tough sometimes to develop a sense of what you want.

    You gotta keep walking if you wanta get there.
  9. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty Supporting Member

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    That is the damn truth! (insert line from Ol' Man River).
  10. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player

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    Tacet?
  11. Bassdude15

    Bassdude15

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    That is actually how songs start in my head: a progression, with a beat, a general tempo (IE slow, moderately fast, etc.), and an overall feel/mood. The rest comes later,usually in the order of a keyboard/synth accompaniment, some lyrics I come up with separately, a vocal melody, and then I do the bass line last, so as to best outline the melody/harmony while keeping time.
  12. Bassdude15

    Bassdude15

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    My bass line would be upfront but not overly aggressive (sort of Paul McCartney/JPJ style, mainly quarter notes with some swing 8ths and maybe a few 16-triplet runs), highlighting the contrast between the main melody and the progression, if that makes any sense.
    By the way,in terms of composition, I am very influenced by Baroque, Middle Eastern, Flamenco, and instrumental jazz music and my goal is to blend these influences with late 60s/70s -style heavy rock, so I appreciate your perspective.
  13. Stormchaser

    Stormchaser

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    I'm thinking blast-beats, yodelling, and a harp would give this song exactly what it needs.
  14. Milk

    Milk Supporting Member

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    Cant you just record this in some DAW and work on it instead of writing it in your head? That doesnt seem a very efficient way of writing songs... you want to play he instruments, not think of what they may be playing...i dont know
  15. chapito

    chapito Supporting Member

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    Having even a little rhythmic sense of what you want for a part will lead you down the path (hopefully closer) to your destination.

    Try to sing the rhythm you want for the part. You'll notice the rhythmic phrase will yield a few possibilities—but workable ones—as far as pitches. This can be a "skeleton" or foundation to build your melodic idea. It will also quickly eliminate "thoughtful" ideas—inspiration that was more theoretical than musical. This is a great way to learn self-editing and build self-confidence in composition. Its like mellowinman said, "Music is math, but math isn't music."

    I got this method from a big band arranger. I still remember the lesson today. I was working on a chart and couldn't get past the gapping whole in my arrangement—Kind of a "famine and feast" of ideas—no ideas and too many possibilities.

    After singing out a few rhythmic ideas, i was able to build up some nice melodic structure to work with.

    Also, a side benefit of singing the part is it tends to stay melodic.



    Its just one method of many, a tool to put in your tool box.
  16. chapito

    chapito Supporting Member

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    +1
    Using a DAW (or any recording device) is great. We have tech today that really helps the creative process. Being able to play another instrument really helps here.
  17. edpal

    edpal The hell you say!? Gold Supporting Member

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    I think Milk gave you one of the best suggestions - record one of the major parts as you see it being laid down. In this case it sounds like the guitar since they have all the chord changes. Get that locked in FIRST, otherwise you are going to be trying to craft a bass line to something that is shifting sand. Bake the cake first, then start working out the frosting and decorations.

    I thought the idea of an ostinato part might work - comping chords or double stops might work. Sometimes I have got great inspiration from nature...wrote a really trippy bass line recently while watching the snow drift past "hmm, set a delay with 4 repeats to about the speed the flakes are falling". Had to tell the guitarist "don't change a thing to your part or you'll derail the train". And that is why you need to get some structure locked in. Good luck brother, if it was easy everybody would be doing it.

    Don't want to flip for a DAW - just get something like a small ZOOM digital recorder. You can go a long way with a $99 Zoom and free software like Audacity.
  18. Bassdude15

    Bassdude15

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    I wish I had a synth. A piano could work but is ultimately I feel a better instrument for composing more "straightforward" songs if you know what I mean; about guitars: 99% of the time the necks feel really chunky compared to a bass, the balance is off for me and the strings feel too thin and close together :meh: , but I could still try
  19. Milk

    Milk Supporting Member

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    Actually writing a song is very easy once you can sorta play. Everybody can do it (and kinda does). I could write ten songs a day (some of which might even not suck). But writing a good song is the hard part (I'm not saying I have by any means...if I thought I had i'd probably never write another song...)
  20. edpal

    edpal The hell you say!? Gold Supporting Member

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    I'll only agree with your last sentence Milk since writing **** songs doesn't count :D...I've written a bunch of both (crap and not). Myself, I'm more a lyricist and that process is definitely easier to accomplish by one's self since the lyricist gets to decide the story or issues to be brought out by the song and what the ending point of same is. Fairly formulaic: expose topic, expand on topic, summarize.

    Musical parts for others :meh: - unless you can play those other instruments adequately to express your idea I'm thinking you should stick to whatever instrument you are most proficient at and work FIRST with one musician who plays guitar or keys. Then the two of you present it to the group. Trying to express a new song idea to a group via bass might really fall flat, depending on the genre. YMMV
  21. Bassdude15

    Bassdude15

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    I suppose I could use a piano or some type of keyboard :/

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